Early bird or night owl? - Sleep apnoea discussed on This Morning - The importance of getting a good night's sleep - DVLA announces change in the law to enablemore healthcare professionals to complete medical questionnaire - Sleeping Disorders Centre moves to online clinics - Try the Snore Centre Mobile App
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Snore Centre eNewsletter September 2022

Early bird or night owl? How your sleep habits can affect your health

Night owls are at a higher risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes than early birds, new research has found. Published in Experimental Physiology, the US study found night owls - people who prefer to be active later in the day - have a reduced ability to use and burn fats for energy which allows them to build up in the body.

This can lead to an increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes and heart disease, researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey found. On the flip side, early birds - those who are more active in the morning - require more fat as an energy source due to being more energetic with more hours in the day and therefore have higher levels of fitness than night owls.

The researchers put participants into two groups based on their chronotypes - our natural propensity to look for activity and sleep at different times. After one-week of monitoring, researchers found that early birds use more fat for energy at both rest and during exercise periods than night owls.Each group was tested at rest before undertaking two 15-minute treadmill workouts - one moderate and one high-intensity.

Following fuel preference monitoring, the individuals were tested for their aerobic fitness levels on an incline challenge with the incline being raised by 2.5% every two minutes until the person got to the point of exhaustion. Participants consumed a calorie and nutrition-controlled diet with fasting overnight in order to lower chances of their diets affecting the results.

Senior author and Rutgers University Professor Steven Malin said: "Because chronotype appears to impact our metabolism and hormone action, we suggest that chronotype could be used as a factor to predict an individual's disease risk.

"We also found that early birds are more physically active and have higher fitness levels than night owls who are more sedentary throughout the day. Further research is needed to examine the link between chronotype, exercise and metabolic adaptation to identify whether exercising earlier in the day has greater health benefits."

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Sleep apnoea discussed on This Morning in Ask Dr Ranj

The importance of getting a good night's sleep

With our busy, stressful lives, constant noise and frequent distractions, most of us struggle to get the seven or eight hours’ sleep per night widely recommended by health professionals.

Now, a study of more than 7,000 people’s sleep habits carried out by researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), Paris, has found that seven out of ten cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks could be prevented if we all regularly got a good night’s sleep. The team analysed the sleeping habits of 7,200 men and women aged between 50 and 75, who showed no previous signs of cardiovascular disease, over ten years starting in 2008.

All of the participants underwent a physical health check at the beginning of the study and were then asked to fill in a questionnaire designed to score their sleep health based on five criteria, each scored from 0 – indicating poor sleep – to five – indicating optimal sleep. These were: hours slept per night, chronotype, frequency of insomnia, occurrence of sleep apnoea and frequency of daytime sleepiness. Ten per cent were deemed to have optimal sleep habits and eight per cent poor.

The team then checked the occurrence of coronary heart disease and stroke every two years over a ten-year period, adjusting the data for a number of factors including age, sex, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, body mass index, cholesterol level and family history of heart conditions. They found that those scoring a 5 on the scale had a 75 per cent lower risk of heart disease or stroke compared to those with a score of 0 or 1, with each point altering the risk by around 20 per cent.

“The low prevalence of good sleepers was expected given our busy, 24/7 lives,” said study author Dr. Aboubakari Nambiema of INSERM. “Our study illustrates the potential for sleeping well to preserve heart health and suggests that improving sleep is linked with lower risks of coronary heart disease and stroke.

“Given that cardiovascular disease is the top cause of death worldwide, greater awareness is needed on the importance of good sleep for maintaining a healthy heart."

DVLA announces change in the law to enable more healthcare professionals to complete medical questionnaires

From  20 July, the law has changed to enable healthcare professionals other than doctors to complete DVLA medical questionnaires following notification of a medical condition that may affect an individual’s driving, DVLA has announced

The change to the Road Traffic Act 1988 will now allow doctors to refer medical questionnaires to colleagues such as specialist nurses and opticians from other professional bodies. This change is a result of extensive work by DVLA including a public consultation where 82% of respondents were supportive of the change. This forms part of an approach by DVLA to speed up elements of the medical licencing process while reducing the burden on doctors to complete DVLA medical questionnaires

Specialist nurses and opticians are among the healthcare professionals now able to complete DVLA medical questionnaires, as part of an approach by DVLA to improve and speed up the medical licensing process. An amendment to the Road Traffic Act 1988  means a wider pool of registered healthcare professionals, other than doctors, can now be authorised to provide information where a driver has declared a medical condition.

By law, all drivers must meet the medical standards for fitness to drive. Often, other healthcare professionals such as nurses or opticians will be involved in patient care and this change in the law now allows these and others to complete DVLA medical forms following deferment by a doctor. DVLA will continue to send questionnaires to GMC doctors and consultants, and it will then be up to individual GP practices and hospital teams as to which healthcare professional in practice is best placed to complete the questionnaire.

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Check out the redesigned Sleeping Disorders Centre website 

Sleeping Disorders Centre moves to online clinics

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 attending hospitals and clinics in person has been difficult and potentially involves the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus. Therefore, the Sleeping Disorders Centre's services are now available  online for both NHS and private patients.

We are able to deliver the same high quality service either via telephone or online, organising all aspects of care remotely: including sleep studies, diagnosis, CPAP fitting, delivery, maintenance and long-term care.

This means that people suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea and other sleep-related and ENT conditions are still able to access first class care from Mr. Oko, Professor Dhillon and the rest of our clinical team. Our mission to raise awareness of the suffering caused by sleep apnoea, and enable those affected to live normal lives through fast diagnosis and effective treatment, is still continuing depite the challenges of the pandemic.

The Sleeping Disorders Centre's private clinic has moved from Harley Street to The London Digestive Centre, in partnership with HCA Healthcare. All appointments with Mr. Oko are taking place by phone or online, and in person appointments continuing with Prof. Dhillon.

Contact details

Private patients
The London Digestive Centre
41 Welbeck Street
Telephone: 020 3797 7248



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